On the Gospel of John, Part 10: The Only-Begotten is Not the Only
In our last presentation in this series on the Gospel of John, which was subtitled The World of Salvation, among other things we had discussed were several aspects of the statement of Christ which is recorded in John 3:16. This is a favorite verse of the universalist denominational Christians, but it certainly does not mean what they imagine it to mean. They read this verse as if it says that Yahshua, or Jesus Christ, is the only Son of God, and had come to die in order to save the entire planet and everything, or, at least, everyone, dwelling thereupon. Of course, that is absolutely contrary to the entire body and context of the Scriptures. But with their interpretation of one verse, and only sometimes with imagined support from a couple of other verses, they would negate the entire meaning and value of all of the books of the prophets, as well as the complete substance of the epistles of the apostles and many of the other statements of Christ Himself.
So we began to address this particular passage by explaining that the Greek words translated as world were never intended to describe what we now know as the planet, and that even in the Medieval English of the King James translators, or in the German of Martin Luther, the concept of world did not imply the inclusion of the entire planet and everything on it, as the word is usually understood in modern times.
Now we are going to address another aspect of this passage, which is the use and translation of the Greek term μονογενής (Strong’s # 3439). In its most literal sense it means “only-born”, and it is the word which the King James translators rendered as “only-begotten” in John 3:16. But is that what the Gospel writers really meant to convey when they used the term? This is debatable, but we would rather understand it according to the idiom of the times, and especially its use in the idioms of the Greek Old Testament, where we will find that it was not necessarily used in that literal sense in our Scriptures.
This evening, rather than present my commentary on the balance of John chapter 3, something which I am not yet quite prepared to do, I decided to present a related paper by Clifton Emahiser, and offer an expanded commentary on that. The paper is titled John 3:16, What It Says And What It Doesn't, and was finalized by Clifton on March 8th, 2004. Doing this, I will necessarily repeat several things which I said in Part 9 of my commentary on the Gospel of John, and also some things which I hope to state in Part 10, which is soon forthcoming. Doing this, the evolution of our opinions on John 3:16 may also be better understood, although I wish that Clifton were here to share that. In this paper, Clifton employed several of my own notes which I had sent to him on the subject, but also, because he was copying something I wrote to him in a letter, he referred to several other of my writings, which I shall endeavor to include or elaborate upon here.
John 3:16, What It Says And What It Doesn't
Most of Clifton’s pamphlet-sized essays were written in response to someone that he had questions from, or someone whom he questioned, or sometimes something he saw in the media. I do not remember the specific reason why Clifton had written this essay, but because he included a couple of paragraphs from a letter I wrote to him on the subject, and because they discussed the errors of a certain individual whom Clifton addresses here, we must have had an ongoing dialog leading up to this publication. As the impetus for this essay, Clifton recalls a trip he made to Louden, Tennessee, for a Christian Identity gathering in 1996. During the course of his nearly 20-year ministry, Clifton had made quite a few responses to what he had seen and heard at that particular gathering, and this was perhaps the last of them. Among those responses, he was compelled to write his papers on the Ephraim-Scepter Heresy, a Defense of Matthew & Luke and more significantly, the first 21 of his Watchman’s Teaching Letters, which were all subtitled with the question Just Who is This Patriarch, Judah? So it might even be safe to say that the single gathering in Louden was also the real impetus for Clifton’s starting his ministry.
Tonight I am going to talk briefly about our personal experience in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, just to have it on record. Then we will also present an interview with Shaun Winkler, a friend and fellow League of the South member from Mississippi who came to Florida as a volunteer in the hurricane relief effort. Because I have had many inquiries as to my own well-being and also that of Christogenea, my ministry, and how we are fairing after the storm, I will begin with an account from a personal perspective.
I hope to be able to do a second such podcast in the near future, from a more general perspective and related to our League of the South activities.
On the Gospel of John, Part 9: The World of Salvation
Ancient Gnostic influences adversely infected early Christianity with wrongful ideas that basic words such as seed, father, son, brother, and house, among others, had other than plain meanings when they appeared in Scripture in the prophets or in the New Testament writings, and modern adherents to the organized church institutions routinely cite those writings without giving thought to the actual and literal meanings of such words. This allowed them to accept another false doctrine, which we shall call replacement theology, because the words of all the prophets and apostles could then be corrupted and imagined to apply to “whosoever”, to anyone other than those who are expressly intended by the Scriptures, so that in that manner, anyone who would comply with the church institutions could be imagined to be a party to the covenants which Yahweh had made with Israel. So it is also with another word, world, which they now imagine refers to the entire planet and to every thing in it, yet that concept is relatively new, and nothing could be further from the truth.
One cannot be a Gnostic, and be a true Christian. In order to be a Christian, and truly accept the Word of God in the Old Testament, which is also manifest in Christ, one must accept the meanings of the words of Scripture as they were understood by the writers of Scripture or by those who had spoken those words when the Scriptures were written. Abraham would never have believed in any so-called “spiritual seed”, but rather he was told that his seed would come out from his loins, from where we may expect it to come. To Isaiah and Jeremiah and the other prophets, a son was a genetic descendant, a brother was a man of shared parentage, seed was the collective of a man’s offspring, a tribe was an extended family unit, a father a male ancestor near or remote, and the words never represented a mere group of disparate and unrelated believers. For example, a man who was a son was a son first, and then whether he was believing and acted accordingly so that he would be entitled to an inheritance was secondary to his being a son.
In many ways, Gnosticism is the true basis of the doctrines of the modern so-called Orthodox or Catholic churches. When they make appeals to their traditions found in their so-called “church fathers”, the true foundation of those traditions is very often found in Gnosticism, and sometimes also in Plato or Aristotle, but certainly not in the Christian Scriptures. When the other Protestant denominations followed the Eastern Orthodox by parting ways with Rome, they nevertheless retained Gnostic concepts as the basis of their faith. So if Identity Christians are criticized, it is because we reject Gnosticism. We believe the words of Scripture according to the meanings which they represented when they were written, and in that manner we truly seek to understand and believe the Word of our God. Doing this, we may also attest that the words of His prophets are manifest both in ancient history and in Christian society as it has existed historically.
When on September 21st, I had presented Part 7 of this series and my commentary on the second half of John Chapter 2, I had promised to continue with Part 8 in mid-October, after a short trip to Tennessee. But Yahweh had other plans, and the October 10th hurricane here in Florida disrupted our lives, along my writing schedule, days after our return. Now that we are finally getting settled into our new home, I pray that I may resume this commentary without any further unplanned interruptions.
Presenting that last portion of John chapter 2, I chose to focus on the theme ofChallenging Orthodoxy as we encountered Yahshua Christ confronting the errors of the generally accepted orthodoxy of Judaea in His Own time. I chose to focus on this theme because we ourselves should perceive that the presumably Christian and generally accepted orthodoxy of today is also in error. Here in John chapter 3, as Christ encounters the inquisitive Nicodemus, some of those errors will be brought to light. The so-called Orthodox and Catholic churches have followed the errors of Nicodemus for perhaps 1,800 years, and they refuse the correction which Christ offered to Nicodemus here in the discussion which is recorded in this chapter.
After our last presentation, I was challenged by certain of my acquaintances with the assertion that the major denominations of Christianity could not possibly have been wrong for these last 1,800 years, or perhaps, as they count, 2,000 years. In actuality, as I elucidated in a presentation of the Identifying the “Beast of the Field” series which I recently concluded, at least some scholars from the Orthodox Church itself admit that their doctrines are drawn from the writings of the so-called “Church Fathers” who lived from the 4th century onward, so giving them 1,800 years is actually giving them too much credit. Orthodox so-called Christianity as we know it is really only about 1,600 years old, it was still developing for a few hundred years after the Council of Nicaea, and it is not an orthodoxy of the Christianity which was taught by apostles of Christ.
As long as eighteen centuries ago, certain men who were highly influenced by Jews as well as by pagan Greek philosophies had become Christians, and began writing voluminous works, many of which have been preserved to our time, although no one can claim with any great degree of confidence hat they are without corruption as we have them today. A couple of the more notable of these men are Justin Martyr and Clement of Alexandria. We mention these two here as examples. While it is always beneficial to see how some early Christians understood the faith of Christ, we must understand their writings in the context in which they were made, and can never accept them as replacements for Scripture in the formulation of Christian doctrine. They were never even universally recognized or disseminated for that purpose in their own time, and they were often disagreed with by other early Christian writers. But in these aspects, they were not alone: Tertullian, Irenaeus and others also shared this same plight, and deservedly so. There was no commonly accepted doctrine among the Christian assemblies until it was forced, for political expediency, beginning in the early 4th century at Nicaea and culminating with the decrees of Justinian establishing the Papacy as we know it in the 6th century, which elevated the bishop of Rome to primacy, and the bishop of Constantinople to the second place among all the bishops of the empire. Five hundred years later, the bishop of Constantinople led the first Protestant uprising against the Papacy, forming the separate Orthodox Church.
It has been nearly a month since my last presentation here, which was the last monthly End Times Update with Don Fox back on October 6th. I am still not ready to produce much new material, still having far too many tasks to attend to, but here I am in spite of the circumstances caused by the recent hurricane.
As for Melissa and I, we are fine. Our house is badly damaged, but Yahweh has blessed us with another place to live. My library, computer equipment, and most of our other possessions are all safe, and we suffered relatively minimum losses which should be fully covered by our insurance. So I fully expect my work and ministry to be back on a regular schedule as soon as I can finish getting moved and settled in and getting my other affairs in order, such as dealing with the insurance companies and smaller chores such as obtaining a new PO Box.
The building where we had our post office box, which was actually a UPS store, was badly damaged in the storm. A large portion of the roof caved in and several stores were destroyed in the strip mall where it was located. So I have not been able to get my mail in nearly a month. If anyone has sent me anything, including the payments which we await for new book orders, I probably won’t have it at least until the end of next week. Soon I will publish a new PO Box address on the Contact page at Christogenea...
This past Saturday Melissa and I attended an unannounced League of the South demonstration in Tennessee, which I could not indicate in my announcement for last week’s program. Of course, the scheduled demonstration at Sycamore Shoals State Park in Tennessee was canceled, and I hope to write about that soon. Christogenea is not a news outlet, and I have no compulsion to do so immediately. The demonstration went very well, and we were very well received by the local population of Newport, Tennessee. Nevertheless, for us it was a difficult road trip, as our jeep suffered a mechanical breakdown, nearly a second after having that repaired, and we had some other challenges along the way. We made it home a day later and one visit shorter than we had originally planned, as we had hoped to stop in North Georgia to see some friends there. Yahweh willing, we will have another opportunity to do that in a few months.
I have had some people who criticize us, meaning Identity Christians, on the basis that Christian Identity is something which is relatively new in history. So the other day in social media I explained Why Christian Identity is such a "new" denomination, and of course we know that it is not really a denomination, but they call it that. We know that it is The Way. Here are five simple reasons why it is so new:
1) Throughout the Middle Ages the question of race in Europe was not an issue, as most folks kept to their own kind and race-mixing was largely a result of prostitution or defeat in war.
2) The Roman Catholic Church had restrictions on copying Scripture for general dissemination, and even tried to hold the line once the printing press was invented, but the printing press ultimately defeated the policy by brute force.
3) Once men got their hands on copies of the Bible, they began reading and realizing how far the so-called "orthodox" churches had wandered from the Gospel of Christ. This was the chief reason for the Reformation and the cause of a multiplicity of denominations which followed.
4) The colonial period led British, German and French academics to treasure troves of information previously unavailable, through exploration and archaeology.
5) Once archaeological records of ancient population migrations became available and certain Protestants realized the implications, British Israel and then Christian identity began to develop, from around the second quarter of the 19th century.
Conclusion: If you cannot revise your thinking based on new information, or at least on information which is new to you, you are a slave and a fool. In the end, we will ALL be Christian Identity whether you like it or not.
Although the planned League of the South demonstrations that were scheduled for the 29th at Sycamore Shoals State Park in Tennessee have been canceled, Melissa and I have come to the area anyway, as in our plans to attend the event we made other commitments which we wanted to keep. So this presentation is being prerecorded Friday afternoon for tonight's program and publication at Christogenea. I hope to write about the cancelled event and the implications of that cancellation in the weeks to come. The State of Tennessee has made itself an agent of the Antifa.
Identifying the Biblical “Beast of the Field”, Part 4
In my presentation from chapter 2 of the Gospel of John which I made here last week, which was subtitled Challenging Orthodoxy, I strongly criticized the so-called “Church Father” who is popularly known as John Chrysostom. Some people, mostly Orthodox Christians, took offense to that. They should be ashamed. They simply do not understand that their “Church Fathers” are not God, but men. Yahweh our God cannot righteously be criticized. Jesus, or Yahshua Christ, who is God Incarnate, cannot righteously be criticized. His chosen apostles were mere men and each had their faults, but their message, which is directly from Him, should not be criticized. But whenever we elevate a man to that level of veneration by which the man cannot be criticized, we engage in idolatry. I will not engage in or be subject to Orthodox or Roman Catholic idolatry.
One vocal complainant told me that I should repent for “attacking” his idol, Chrysostom. But he did not address any of the substance of my criticism. This is typical of idolaters. So I asked him, and several others like him, which of the Ante-Nicene “Church Fathers” is it that Orthodoxy follows completely, and none of them have answered. I do not believe they will answer, because it can be demonstrated that they will be found to have denied the very men upon which they claim to have their theological foundations.
Identity Christians worship Christ and believe the words of His apostles and prophets. But Orthodox Christians claim an authority for “tradition” and “Church Fathers” whom we see as mere men. We can cite them where they elucidate early Christian history, and we can discuss their attitudes on many subjects. But we cannot venerate them as gods, and we cannot view them as having been infallible – especially since they often disagree with one another. The Word of God is our authority, as the Scriptures themselves tell us, and not any traditions of men. The beginning of tyranny is the desire to rule over another man's faith, and we have a Christian duty to resist such tyranny, for that the early martyrs had died.
Our last segment of this series, titled On the Gospel of John, Part 6: The Wedding Feast at Cana, was presented here on July 6th. Now I shall resume with Part 7 before we travel again to East Tennessee in order to attend a League of the South event at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park on September 29th. Yahweh willing, we will resume the series once more in mid-October, and stay with it through winter, hopefully completing it in early 2019.
On the Gospel of John, Part 7: Challenging Orthodoxy
Before commencing with our presentation and commentary on the Gospel of John, I have a short digression, and this will necessarily lead me to another and much longer digression. In our previous portions of this commentary I explained that some of the disciples of Yahshua Christ had at first been disciples of John the Baptist, and that they, namely Andrew the brother of Simon Peter and John himself, the author of this gospel, had sought Christ immediately after John the Baptist had declared Him to be the Lamb of God. Upon attaching themselves to Him, they introduced to Him Simon Peter. Immediately after that the small group returned to Galilee where Philip, Nathanael and the others – such as the younger James, the brother of John – were also introduced to Him. These opening chapters of the Gospel of John are the earliest records of the development of the association of Christ with His apostles.
Since our last presentation, which discussed the marriage feast recorded in John chapter 2, I was confronted by a friend who claimed that both John and James, the sons of Zebedee, were known to Yahshua Christ even before that, where he asserted that the Salome who is mentioned in the Crucifixion account in Mark’s gospel was their mother, and that she was also the sister of Mary the mother of Christ. But these assertions I must reject, since they are taken from apocryphal tales repeated by some or other of the so-called “Church Fathers”, but which are not based upon any Scripture.
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." - 2 Chronicles 7:14
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Today's Christogenea Internet Radio Schedule Stream 1: Jews in Europe: Conversos and the Inquisition, Johann Reuchlin Revisited Stream 2: Protocols of Satan parts 1-6 Stream 3: Christianity in the Old Testament Stream 4: Gospel of John, parts 1 through 7, Identifying the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil